Vascular Ultrasound Certification and Training Programs

Read about vascular ultrasound certificate and degree programs. Examine the prerequisites, coursework and popular careers as well as certification options.

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Essential Information

Vascular ultrasound, also known as vascular sonography, is the use of high-frequency sound waves to generate visual images of blood flow, body tissues and organs for diagnostic uses. Prospective students may choose programs at the certificate, associate's or bachelor's levels, some of which may offer online study opportunities. In addition to studying patient care techniques and neurosonology, aspiring vascular sonographers may be expected to complete internships or clinical practicum components. Certification is not required, but voluntary credentials may be earned by passing related examinations through associations like the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.


Certificate in Vascular Ultrasound

Certificates in vascular ultrasound teach students about the conventional techniques used in ultrasound imaging and the vascular systems. The certificate program is about 40 credit hours and can take between 12-24 months to complete. In addition to on-campus courses, online programs are available for the classroom work; students then have to arrange for clinical work in a local facility.

Education Prerequisites

Certificate programs in vascular ultrasound are not for those who have just completed their high school education. There are specific college course prerequisites, including biology courses, introductory physics and medical terminology.

Program Coursework

While coursework teaches students about the basic concepts and techniques involved in vascular ultrasound, students must also complete an internship. Common courses include:

  • Caring for ultrasound patients
  • Cross-sectional anatomy
  • Ethics and medical law
  • Medical terminology
  • Neurosonology

Popular Careers

Vascular sonographers work in the ultrasound and medical imaging department in various medical facilities. Careers for vascular sonographers are available in:

  • Hospitals
  • Physician's offices
  • Medical imaging clinics
  • Mobile services

Continuing Education

Students can transfer credits from a certificate program into an associate degree program, which can prepare professionals for promotional opportunities in the field. Graduates are also eligible for the vascular specialty boards.


Associate Degree in Vascular Ultrasound

Vascular ultrasound associate degree students are able to perform a variety of ultrasound procedures, including intracranial and extracranial procedures. Graduates are eligible to take national certification exams upon completion of the program. Students may also be required to complete a clinical practicum in an area hospital or medical facility.

Education Prerequisites

Students may need to complete certain college courses before they are eligible for the vascular ultrasound program. These courses may include computer basics, English, college algebra, medical terminology and introduction to ultrasound.

Program Coursework

Although the focus of the associate degree program is on ultrasound procedures, courses may teach students to work with patients as well. Common topics in many programs include:

  • Cross-sectional anatomy
  • Essentials of non-invasive vascular sonography
  • Techniques of patient care
  • Testing the extremities
  • Ultrasound of arteries

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), diagnostic medical sonographers, a category that includes vascular sonographers, are expected to experience a 44% growth in employment opportunities from 2010-2020 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports that the average wage for all diagnostic medical sonographers in 2012 was almost $32.00 per hour.

Certification and Continuing Medical Education

Although no state has certification requirements for vascular ultrasound technologists, many employers prefer applicants who have earned a voluntary credential. The American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) offers a registered vascular technologist (RVT) credential, while a registered vascular sonographer (RVS) designation may be earned through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).


Bachelor's Degree in Vascular Ultrasound

Although associate degree programs in vascular ultrasound technology are more common, bachelor's degree programs in the field are available. In 2009, 25% of diagnostic medical sonographers reported that a bachelor's degree was required for their job (online.onetcenter.org). Students learn about advanced techniques and principles that can prepare them for management positions.

Education Prerequisites

Students need to complete two years of undergraduate coursework involving general education requirements and prerequisite coursework. While general education requirements include mathematics, communications and English, prerequisite coursework consists of biology, anatomy and physiology, and medical terminology.

Program Coursework

Coursework for a bachelor's degree program educates students about health problems in the vascular region and prepares them to manage sonographers and other medical technicians. Courses in the program may address:

  • Adult echocardiography
  • Distinctive circulatory problems
  • Healthcare research and design
  • Leadership principles
  • Managing a vascular laboratory

Continuing Education

Graduates with bachelor's degrees from a vascular ultrasound program may continue their education and earn a master's degree. These programs can be completed in two years and prepare graduates for administrative roles in the field.

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Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Athletic Trainer
        • EMT and Paramedic
        • Physician Assistant
        • Ultrasound and Sonography Technologies
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Grand Valley State University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Athletic Trainer
        • Physician Assistant
        • Ultrasound and Sonography Technologies
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Ferris State University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Medical Radiologic Therapist
        • Nuclear Medical Technologist
        • Respiratory Care Therapy
        • Ultrasound and Sonography Technologies
      • Nursing Professions
      • Optometric and Ophthalmic Services
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Rochester Institute of Technology include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Athletic Trainer
        • Nuclear Medical Technologist
        • Physician Assistant
        • Ultrasound and Sonography Technologies
      • Medical Informatics and Illustration
      • Nutrition Services
      • Optometric and Ophthalmic Services
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Oklahoma (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Oklahoma State University include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • EMT and Paramedic
        • Radiological Science and Technologies
        • Ultrasound and Sonography Technologies
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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